Inside Bob Saget's Final Standup Show, Comedian Tim Wilkins Says He Was 'On Top of His Game' (Exclusive)
By Meredith B. Kile
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Bob Saget was beloved by many as Full House patriarch Danny Tanner, or the host of America's Funniest Home Videos, or the narrator of How I Met Your Mother, or even the crass, exaggerated version of himself that he played on several episodes of Entourage. But Saget got his start in standup comedy, and had recently made a return to the form, performing two shows of his ongoing tour in Florida on Friday and Saturday night. On Sunday morning, he was found dead in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando.
Saget was just 65 years old, and his sudden death has sent shockwaves through Hollywood, with friends, co-stars, and fellow performers sharing their love and appreciation for the late star. On Monday, ET spoke with Tim Wilkins, a fellow standup, who opened for Saget over the weekend and was one of the last people to see him perform.
"Bob, from the minute we went to soundcheck, was in great spirits," Wilkins shared of their Saturday night show, at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. "He'd done an hour and 45 minutes to a wild crowd the night before that absolutely loved him, and he was really looking forward to the show."
"He was crafting a special, so he was really excited about the creative process and kind of re-crafting how he delivered and presented material," he added. "He was really excited and really was [in] a perfect spot in his private life, his business life. He was just happy."
Wilkins explained that Saget's planned upcoming special was centered around his belief that comedians can act as a "fourth responder" in difficult times, helping to bring joy and escapism to those on the front lines.
"As a fourth responder, his job was to create happiness and positive endorphins that let all the other responders do their jobs and [make their] lives better," he noted. "His special was really with the goal of unifying people and uniting people and he was excited to have his comedy do that."
Saget himself posted on Instagram about how inspired he had been by his final show, writing, "I’m back in comedy like I was when I was 26. I guess I’m finding my new voice and loving every moment of it."
"He seemed in great health and he seemed really happy with the persona that he was creating onstage and the different delivery," Wilkins shared. "He was in great spirits and really, really on top of his game for 65... He was happy doing what he loved."
Meaningfully, Wilkins noted that he had never met Saget before their two performances together -- he said he took the gigs "specifically to meet Bob, because I’ve been a fan since '84."
"I was 15, 16 years old and had his show from the Rodney Dangerfield Young Comedian Special memorized," he marveled. "He meant a lot to my career. He meant a lot to me."
As for his last words to Saget before he went onstage? "I said the thing you're not supposed to say: 'Have a great show!'" Wilkins recalled with a laugh. "I actually leaned in and said, 'They're going to love you.'"
"You can tell when a lot of a crowd is there just to be with someone," he added. "Sometimes they're there for the comedy, sometimes they're just there to say, 'I was that close to Bob Saget.' And the crowd, you could tell when he walked out, they genuinely loved him."
Wilkins said he was in disbelief when he got the news of Saget's death, and is still "processing what it's like to lose one of your idols" and the connection they shared during their brief time together.
"He was just a sweet, kind, generous man who took the time to look you in the eyes and have a conversation," he shared. "He was a great human being."
As the outpouring of love for Saget continues from friends and fans, Wilkins says that the actor and comedian's legacy will be "of course, his wife and his daughters, and his career spanning 40 years."
"I’m watching the tweets come through from people [for whom] he was their de facto dad," he continued. "He was for the broken homes of the '80s and '90s, and the busy working parents, the kids that plopped in front of the TV and said, 'I’m safe here with Bob Saget and I’m safe here with my other two uncles in this house,' and I think that’s gonna be a huge part of his legacy."
However, Wilkins said that Saget's body of work was much more than Full House, noting he was "America's dad" on his sitcom, a "crazy uncle" on the standup stage, and a "sweet, kind and generous" mix of the two in real life.
"Watching Bob reminded me why I love doing what I do," he shared. "If there’s any way that you can do what you love and remember to be a great person along the way, that’s the ultimate Bob Saget package. That’s the legacy right there."
Meanwhile, Rebekah Bareswilt, an audience member at Saget's last show tells ET, "Bob Saget's overall mood was energetic the whole time he was performing. He was saying how excited he was to be doing live comedy again and that he was touring and working on a special."
She adds that the comedian "was testing out different jokes and seeing how his comedy resonated with the crowd. He was very happy and had high energy. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Bob joked that instead of being a first responder and essential worker, he qualifies himself as a fourth responder because the gift of comedy is what you turn to after any sort of tragedy or sadness."
"Bob made raunchy jokes too, but joked about being canceled and made fun of himself for being overly raunchy in previous years and how he has a different mindset since being remarried and having older daughters. His new comedy style was great and the audience loved it," Bareswilt adds.
Matt Manning, another audience member who got to witness Saget's final show, calls him "so positive."
"Bob was in the best spirits ever and never stopped smiling. His messages were so positive. He played for two hours straight, even though his set time was supposed to be 70 minutes," Manning recalls. "I was lucky to be there. He was so stoked to be back on the road. He talked a lot about Norm Macdonald. His evident message was wanting everyone to get along. It was a special night. He was such a positive person."